In 1828 the American voters rose up in outrage against the establishment of their time, electing a public figure who was said to have no administrative, governmental experience.
Andrew Jackson was considered ill suited for the presidency. Critics called him a lout. He used profanity. He had a famous temper and had actually killed a man in a duel. There were accusations of infidelities. The establishment warned that his inexperience would be a disaster for the country.
Insiders, including advocates of a new national bank saw him as a disruptive force who was unpredictable. The voters ignored the warnings and elected him to the White House anyway. Andrew Jackson became one of our greatest presidents.
Here’s the story.
It had been 52 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. America had experienced six presidents. All of them had come from two eastern states, Massachusetts and Virginia. All of them were considered members of a new American political aristocracy.
Two of the presidents had actually come from the same family. John Adams and John Quincy Adams. The latter was the incumbent, running for re-election. He had been chosen president by the House of Representatives even though he had lost the general election. It is known in history as “the corrupt bargain.” And there were hints that any of his three sons would make good presidents as well. The firstborn was actually named, George Washington Adams, although there were questions within the family about whether he could ever run for president since he had been born in Prussia during his father’s time as a diplomat assigned to that kingdom.
As in the case of Hillary Clinton, four of the presidents, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, had served as Secretary of State.
Four of the presidents were Virginia tobacco planters, millionaires by today’s standards.
Andrew Jackson was wealthy as well. He had served in the U.S. House of Representatives and one year in the Senate before abruptly resigning. But his claim to fame was as a general on the battlefield, having won the famous Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812. And battling the Indians in the South. He had briefly served as governor of the Florida territory but it was strictly military duty. Critics said he knew nothing about running the country.
All six of the presidents had been members of the Episcopal Church. After moving into the White House, John Adams began the Sunday tradition of walking across Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church. Every president had done the same. Each one had a pew in the church with his name on it.
But Andrew Jackson, like Donald Trump, was a Presbyterian.
As president, the establishment attempted to control Jackson but it backfired badly. In retaliation he filled government offices with businessmen instead of party cronies. When he ran for re-election his establishment opponents raised the issue of the Second National Bank to try to force him out of office. Previous presidents had supported and advanced the idea as a solution to the nation’s economic problems. Jackson believed it would only be used by the rich to make them even richer.
Until modern times Andrew Jackson has been seen as one of America’s greatest presidents. But modern historians, such as Howard Zinn, criticize Jackson’s harsh line against the Indian tribes, calling him a racist.
There is no exact historical comparison to our times. There are many differences between Jackson and Trump. But the people’s uprising of 1828 against the political establishment of 1ts day is an eerie reflection of what we see happening around us.
Donald Trump is like the class clown. You may not like what he says about the girl across the room. But you like the fact that he is disrupting the class and poking the nose of the arrogant, intellectually stifling, teacher. In this case, the teacher is the national media and their corporate allies, with their legalistic rules of discourse and their heavy agenda favoring their own handpicked political choices.
Today, insiders are out. Outsiders are in.
Here is Doug Wead interviewed by Neil Cavuto on FOX, September 24, 2016, talking about Andrew Jackson.